Jun 30 2016

counting by halves

June 30. Another year half-gone, and I thought, the other day, about those words—the ones that pick us, or we them, back in January.

And I know the word finishing came up, somewhere in my mind’s conversation with itself, and I smiled because I did finish a few things, but there is always so much left undone. And there has been learning. So much learning, and that is never finished, and I smiled again at the lesson in that short sentence.

But a new word popped into my head when I was thinking about this year: economy. And I settled right into that one, like my favorite old sweater, the one with the stain and the pills and the ragged edges that can always be found thrown over the back of a chair.

Economy.

Of motion. Time. Emotion. Energy. The paring down to what actually matters, and the rearranging of what’s left in my hand.

Choosing what’s precious and letting the rest slip through my fingers. Working hard to make the changes that allow me to do that. Practicing economy, in all its definitions, trying again and again to get it right.

The Year of Economy.

I kind of like that.

It’s also been the year of crazy and the year of letting go and the year of holding on and the year of finishing and learning and also, the year of watching, but underneath everything else, in proper-noun form, it’s been economy all along.

I’m looking to balance the scales, even as I understand that they will always be falling to one side or the other, day-by-day, hour by hour. Sometimes up, sometimes down, almost never right in the middle. I’m saving up pennies though, because once in a while, you just need a tiny bit of help to tip things in the other direction.

I’m saving.

Myself and my time and anyone/anything else I can.

Which isn’t much on a day-to-day basis, but I’m guessing, or at least I’m hoping, that it will all add up in the end.

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Jun 25 2016

my garden grows {5}

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the sun glows

and you shine

in hidden corners

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Jun 18 2016

my garden grows {4}

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planted by birds

lit by mother nature

beloved by me

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Jun 14 2016

and silence grows

digging deep through poisoned soil
seeking hope or refuge or both
and the flower opens
and we think pretty
but it’s all
just a matter
of survival

“this is not really happening—
you bet your life it is”*

hang your head
nod hello
run
stand your ground

i can’t remember

i can’t remember

your name
is
silence
or alice
or delilah

i can’t remember

and all you ever wanted
was bloom

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(*from Tori Amos’ Cornflake Girl)

Jun 11 2016

my garden grows {3}

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always a mess

always beautiful

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Jun 9 2016

memorial day

I want to say the smell of death is just outside my window. I want to say that’s not a metaphor, it’s a real thing, and I think it’s the young robin I thought I’d saved from the cat last week. I want to say I know we’re not supposed to talk about these things, no one wants to hear it, but then again, there it is.

And then I want to say that of course it’s a metaphor, because everything becomes one eventually.

The poppies bloomed a few days late this year, waiting until June to tilt their heads in the breeze. But I sat in my garden and wrote on Memorial Day, the last time I sat long enough to listen to the words constantly crashing through my mind. I wrote about birds and flowers and cats and sky. Trees just gone green and clouds skipping along the horizon, July clouds in May, July temperatures in May, July laziness seeping into my bones.

I watched a turkey vulture floating overhead and thought it was beautiful with bits of gold sun glinting off wide wings, and it was. Beautiful. But a vulture means death, and there that was, too.

I don’t sit like that enough these days, I’m too busy trying to survive. And I know that’s a shame, I know it, but platitudes and dreams don’t pay the bills and the world isn’t waiting for anybody. I think about art and change and the internet and the pool that keeps spreading wider even as the world gets smaller and it feels like we are all just trying to keep our heads above water. Some days I think of that scene in Laura Ingalls’ On the Banks of Plum Creek when the locusts hatch and start walking, marching into the creek right on top of one another until it fills up enough to become a bridge of bodies. And they just keep walking because, of course, they have someplace to be.

I made this garden in my backyard, a place to rest my weary bones, and I don’t sit here enough because I’m too busy walking to a place I’ll never get to. And that’s not angst, it’s reality, and I’m wearing the shoes I paid for. Flip flops with a pebble lodged in the rubber, flip flops I will use to crush the giant ant that dares enter the kitchen when the grandbaby is crawling on the floor. Once, I would have let that ant live, but these days instinct wins every argument.

I remember when I used to go barefoot, all summer long, inside and out. I remember everything and everyone, every loss and every sacrifice, every joy and every smile. I remember this garden thirty years ago when it was nothing but lawn and driveway.

From my chair in the corner I can see the breeze but I cannot feel it. I watch the poppies dance and think, for a second, about getting up to join them.

Maybe tomorrow.

Some days are just for watching. And listening. And thinking about life. Or death. Or both.

It’s all in there, and my garden (another metaphor) is a mess and my feet are tired, but I am here, these flowers are here, these clouds in the bright blue sky are here, moving across the horizon.

Now.

Here.

Always.

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Jun 7 2016

the space between

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holds everything

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Jun 4 2016

my garden grows {2}

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we can dance

if we want to*

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(*from the song of the same name)

May 31 2016

it all grows tall

the robin woke me this morning, calling hard and loud to greet another day.

i admire her optimism, her ability to sing the world awake, her ability to proclaim that being alive is the very best thing, without doubt or second-guessing the effort it will take her just to survive.

she has blind faith and i admire that, too. that’s a different thing than standing small beneath the sky of infinity.

or staying inside when all the windows are open, because even though I can hear that robin, there are still all these walls.

and that’s what I keep coming back to.

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May 24 2016

the out of focus
leanings of louise

and the call of a sky turned crooked

on a day that grows dark like any other

the sun always rises

the sun always rises

the sun always rises

she hears the whispers in the leaves of the tall poplar trees

she has blisters from planting possibility

she is a storm raging gales of regret

she is silent and patient and sometimes

she bends

ever so slightly

towards a house

filled with reflection

and polished

glass

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